Imagine what the Internet of Things would be like in a few years. Well, we’re getting closer thanks to the Raspberry Pi Zero (hint: it costs $5), a simple, programmable computer system that isn’t much bigger than two or three sticks of gum.
If you haven heard of the Raspberry Pi craze then get ready because it’s already here. This little device is one way the traditional world of PCs could disrupt almost every other technology by advancing to the future with small and cheap.
My new MacBook was priced at about $1,500. Sure, it’s small and light and fast and colorful; a diminutive version of a full-on Mac that runs Windows, Linux, OS X, and various flavors of Unix. All at the same time if you want.
The Raspberry Pi 2, released less than a year ago, looks like this.
That model of the Raspberry Pi is available in various forms on Amazon for up to $40 or so, and there are all kinds of attachment components to enhance the device’s capability. So what, right? There are plenty of cheap PCs for a hundred dollars or two that are fully assembled and already have Windows, Linux, Chrome or whatever installed. With apps.
Well, check this one out for $5.
That’s about actual size. Not bad for $5, right? What do you get? I mean, this isn’t like a full-fledged Mac that fits on a keychain.
- A Broadcom BCM2835 application processor
- 1GHz ARM11 core
- 512MB of LPDDR2 SDRAM
- A micro-SD card slot
- A mini-HDMI socket for 1080p60 video output
- Micro-USB sockets for data and power
- An unpopulated 40-pin GPIO header
- Identical pinout to Model A+/B+/2B
- An unpopulated composite video header
In other words, about everything you need to put a PC into something is available for $5 or so. The idea behind the Raspberry Pi is to put programmable computing into the hands of everyone, but to get it to do anything it still needs to run an OS and that needs to run a program which does something.
Enter the so-called Internet-of-Things. If you thought Apple’s polished and comfortable Disney World-esque ecosystem was to be admired, wait until you see the wild west third world IoT.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data The Internet of Things allows objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure creating opportunities for more direct integration between the physical world and computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit. Each thing is uniquely identifiable through its embedded computing system but is able to interoperate within the existing Internet infrastructure. Experts estimate that the IoT will consist of almost 50 billion objects by 2020.
Think devices, appliances, automobiles, drones, and almost anything in the house that can be controlled with a remote device or an app while connected to the local home or office network as something on the Internet of Things and you’ll see where Raspberry Pi Zero fits in.
Where does the Mac fit into the Internet of Things?
Apple places the Mac– like iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Watch– at the entry way for users to view and control such devices, so Raspberry Pi Whatever won’t have much impact on Apple’s core business which is milking profits from customers unwilling to program anything themselves and who like a little shine and color to go with their built-in software.